Each year in March, over 30 000 jazz fans congregate in Bangkok for one of Thailand’s most prestigious jazz events: the Bangkok International Jazz Festival , which attracts an enthusiastic mixed audience of locals, tourists, students and music professionals. In a city with a vibrant jazz scene that boasts numerous live performances throughout the year, this festival is an eagerly anticipated event, bringing the cream of local and international jazz talent to the heart of this buzzing city.
A fixture on Thailand’s music scene since 2003, the Bangkok International Jazz Festival has in recent years moved from its original location – in the peaceful, traditional surrounds of the Dusit Palace in Sanam Sua Pa – to the cutting-edge modernity of the Central World Plaza, southeast Asia’s second largest shopping complex. Against this edgy backdrop in the bustling Ratchaprasong shopping area of the Pathun Wan district, the week-long festival draws big names in jazz from around the world.
Frequent performers include acts such as Christian McBride and his band Inside Straight; Danish singer Annekei; and renowned trumpeter Randy Brecker, who performs with the stellar line-up of the Soulbop band. Also catch performances from the likes of Chielie Minucci and Special EFX, Melody Gardot, Jazz Kamikaze, Mariko Edno, Inger Marie, and Jirapan and Blue Sapphire. It’s an eclectic line-up which offers something for fans of every type of jazz.
The jazz festival is one of many attractions in a city that is a fascinating blend of the modern and traditional. From the royal splendour of the Grand Palace to the crowded charm of the many street markets, from the serenity of the Buddhist temples to the sleek sophistication of the metropolis’s many trendy hotels and bars, there is something to capture every interest in Thailand’s capital city. Book your flights to Bangkok now and start planning a wonderful foray into an exotic country with a cool edge, and – if you time your trip well – soak up the flavour of some of the world’s best jazz.
To get your toes tapping now, check out past performances from some of the festival’s favourite acts in this video playlist of Bangkok International Jazz Festival performers.